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Carlos Caro's page

Goblinworks Executive Founder. Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion, Maps, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber. 109 posts. 1 review. No lists. No wishlists. 1 alias.

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List Price: $29.99

Our Price: $26.99

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One of the best products out there

****( )

HeroLab is one of the best products which you can purchase or find for character creation. It is capable of creating characters quickly for any number of RPGs. With its sister product Army Builder (for those of us who like wargames), it's been a staple for making and designing games. You could almost copy and paste my comments here into a review of Army Builder, so if you also play table wargames, give it a look. What I say about PF applies to pretty much all of the game systems contained in Hero Lab.

The Good: The interface is very intuitive regardless of which game system you are running. The product almost never has any clash between its rulesets. From Call of Cthulhu to Pathfinder to (new) World of Darkness, it almost never has a hang-up because of the game system.

The product is able to output its data sets into a variety of formats, including PDFs.

The variability which you can use when making characters is almost mind-blowing. Pretty much every Pathfinder product is loaded into the PF section, for example. If your character concept will need you to pull from Ultimate Combat, Cheliax, and Bestiary 3 along with the Core Rulebook, HeroLab will do it seamlessly. If as a player or GM you wish to impose certain house rules, you can. If you wish to restrict which source books are available, it takes a few clicks of the mouse.

Hero Lab will automatically check the Rules As Written validity of a character, which can be very helpful. You are not forced to have a valid character, however, which can be a godsend when the GM just wants to craft an NPC who bends the rules. The product will highlight areas of the game where you have yet to develop an NPC or character and will highlight invalid options.

There is a "use HeroLab to modify your character in play" option, but see below.

The Bad: The output formats are not only a bit limited, but they tend to have some weird issues where the spacing of text leads to text falling on top of text into an unreadable smudge. This tends to occur in more "numbery" games like PF and tends to make high level characters' sheets a bit ugly. The character sheets are highly standardized with almost no options to format them. It's certainly not a deal-breaker. Naturally, the sheets are printed off, so they're tough to edit, but they do have tracks for tracked resources. One option is to put the sheet in a page protector and make changes with dry/wet erase markers, but you'll still need to reprint everything when you level up or just acquire a new, traceable resource.

Characters with a lot of spells have the option of preparing their spell list (spell book or spells memorized) in a separate file which can be printed off as well. This sounds nice, but the time to generate that PDF can be absurdly long. The PC I'm running this program on is a high-end gaming laptop, and even it can sit there, using almost none of its resources but taking several minutes just to slap together a PDF list of spells.

This is my personal opinion here, but I despise products which put a screen up between the players and the GM where the players track their characters. (GMs having a laptop at the table off to the side, to consult, is not as bad.) HeroLab does something very bad (tracking your character in a program) very well. Really, invest ten minutes or a few dollars in condition cards.

The Ugly: Development. You'd think the ability to drop in your own custom creations would be nothing but a boon, but you'd be wrong. Clunky doesn't begin to describe it. The documentation is of little help. Good luck.

Lastly, remember all that content mentioned above? You have to purchase it. For example, let's say you just want "Core" Pathfinder: The Core Rulebook, APG, UC, UM, and the Bestiaries. The three Bestiaries together will in a discounted bundle cost you $30, while each of the non-Core Rulebook books will be another $10. "Core Pathfinder" alone has a -real- price of the listed price here + $60 USD. While I believe that price is worth it to me, that's my opinion and I can't help but feel that consumers are NOT being shown an "honest" price up front. That's not ugly. That's just mean.

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